Legendary Shakespearean Sir Ian McKellen celebrates his 80th year today. It seems like he keeps getting discovered on stage and screen by successive generations, most recently of course as Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings cycle; twenty years ago it was in Gods and Monsters and Apt Pupil; but in truth he was making his mark thirty years earlier and has committed many of his great theatre performances to celluloid. He works happily on TV in camp sitcom Vicious with Derek Jacobi and in soap opera Coronation Street in between film commitments and new stage roles. He brings scrupulous physical detail and not a little grandeur to everything he does. He has spent the last year doing his birthday tour and makes you love him whether he’s doing Widow Twankey or Chekhov. He is equal parts kind and mischievous by reputation and is a great spokesman for Stonewall and gay rights. What a gent. Many happy returns!